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Episode 1010 – Bosch Dumps Denso, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, China’s Lead Battery Shortage

November 8th, 2012 at 11:48am

Runtime: 7:41

Lincoln releases more in-depth information on the 2013 MKZ Hybrid. Find out why Bosch sold its entire stake in Japanese supplier Denso. Consumption of lead batteries in China outweighs output, which may lead to a shortage next year. All that and more, plus we get our look at Chevy’s redesigned 2013 Traverse.

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Thanks for joining us on Autoline Daily today. Here’s some of the news you’ll need to know to keep up on what’s going on in the global automotive industry.

LINCOLN, LINCOLN, BO BINKIN
We’ve got more information on the hybrid version of the Lincoln MKZ. It will use the same Atkinson cycle 2 liter engine that goes in the hybrid version of the Ford Fusion. But the MKZ will deliver a combined 45 miles-per-gallon, or about 5 liters per 100 km. That is two less MPG’s than the Fusion, mainly because the MKZ does not use low rolling resistance tires. Ford does not charge a premium for the hybrid version of the MKZ, you can get one for the same price as the V-6 version. Base price is $36,800 with destination charges. Lincoln has the Lexus ES 300h in its crosshairs. The MKZ hybrid gets five more miles-per-gallon combined and costs $2750 less than the Lexus. Currently, the take rate for the hybrid version of the MKZ is under 20 percent, but Lincoln clearly wants that take rate to go up with the new model.

THOUSANDS OF VEHICLES SCRAPPED
Here’s a recap on Hurricane Sandy. The bad news is that hundreds of thousands of vehicles were destroyed on the east coast of the United States. The good news is they will have to be replaced. The National Auto Dealers Association says around 200,000 vehicles will have to be replaced. Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler and Honda will have to scrap around 15,000 new vehicles. Ford and GM don’t have estimates yet for their damaged vehicles. But this will be a big boost to the auto industry in the months to come.

BOSCH DUMPS DENSO
Big news involving two of the largest automotive suppliers in the world. German auto supplier Bosch sold its entire stake in Japanese supplier Denso. According to Bloomberg, Bosch sold its 5.4 percent stake for about $1.4 billion because it wants to diversify its business and make investments in other industries. The two companies still plan to collaborate however.

SAY WHEN
I remember when 6 speeds in a transmission was a lot. Now it seems like the race is on to see who can come up with the most gears. But the CEO of ZF transmissions says the race should end at 9. That it is the “natural limit” he says, because then you hit the law of diminishing returns, meaning more gears adds weight and complexity that cannot be offset by gains in fuel efficiency. Even so, as we’ve reported, Hyundai, GM and Ford all have 10-speed transmissions already in the works.

LOW-TECH BATTERY SHORTAGE
OK, over to China for the moment. China’s lead market may see a shortage next year as growth in sales of lead-acid batteries boosts demand. Output of lead-acid batteries in the first 3 quarters of this year jumped 28 percent, while forecasts figure a doubling of production by 2015. Data suggests that consumption will rise by nearly 9 percent with output only gaining a little over 5 percent.

HISTORIC HAULERS
We love getting your questions and comments but we also want you to send us any cool car pictures you come across. Check out these photos of car haulers from around 60 years ago that Jim Adcock from Yakima, Washington sent to us. It’s amazing to see how much smaller car haulers were back then, though they sure have a lot of styling character. And as Jim points out, imagine how tough the drivers must have been, to be able to drive those rigs without power steering or other modern comforts. If you’ve got any pictures you want to share with us, send them to viewermail@autolinedetroit.tv. We’ll take videos too. Just upload them to your favorite video sharing service like YouTube, send us the link, and you just might see them on a future show.

2013 CHEVY TRAVERSE
(The 2013 Chevy Traverse review can only be seen in the video version of today’s show)

Don’t forget to join us tonight for Autoline After Hours. The Autoextremist and I will be sharing some of the latest insider information we’ve picked up on. And then we have Sandy Munro joining us to share what he learned in reverse engineering vehicles such as the Chevrolet volt and Toyota Venza. So join us tonight for the best insider’s look at what’s going on in this business, starting at 6 PM Eastern time right here on Autoline.tv

And that wraps up today’s report please join us again tomorrow.

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54 Comments to “Episode 1010 – Bosch Dumps Denso, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, China’s Lead Battery Shortage”

  1. pedro fernandez Says:

    If you had your old beater destroyed by Sandy, you’re s–t out of luck cause most likely, you only had liability insurance so you got no money coming in at all to replace it and with the shortage of vehicles, the cost will also go up if you want to get a replacement, I suspect there will be a surge of used vehicles being moved from unaffected areas of the country and again the prices will be increased, it is the law of supply and demand.

  2. Mark Says:

    Not surprising that ZF would say 9 is all you need when that’s the most they make. The same story was said about diminished returns when 6 speed autos were new.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Will Lincoln have a version of the C-Max to compete with the Lexus CT? Maybe the “stretch” C-Max sold in other markets would be good for that.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    By all indications, there actually ARE diminishing returns when you go beyond 5 or 6 gears in a torque converter automatic. The Charger and 300 are about the only example of cars increasing EPA mpg significantly when they add gears (5 to 8), and that may not equate to major real world improvement.

  5. Ron Paris Says:

    OK John, go ahead and get all giddy about the 200k vehicles that will need replacement as a result of Sandy. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking this will be good for the economy. As French economist Frederic Bastiat pointed out in 1850 in “The parable of the broken window”, destruction, and the money spent to recover from destruction, is actually not a net-benefit to society. The parable demonstrates how resources used to repair those damages could have been used for other purposes, as well as the law of unintended consequences, affect economic activity in ways that are “unseen” or ignored.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 yeah, just ask the victims of hurricane Andrew in So Fla, all willing and happy to take was much as they could from their insurers including lots of fraud committed in order to make their houses go up in price and 20 yrs later still paying back with very high insurance rates and a govt run insurer that won’t be able to cover another gigantic, expensive storm.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    BTW. Fla still can’t decide on who they want to be Prez. you know the problem is that old folks just can’t make up their minds very quickly.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’ll take Denso or NGK over Bosch any day, I had bad experiences with Bosch products, including plugs, wires and even wiper blades.

  9. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, I agree that the Traverse looks better since it’s restyle, and to your point the front end, but to my point the rear end (previously a waste-land) now has a lot more style and looks a whole lot better too.

    #1 pedro
    You hit the nail on the head (I believe); sure there will be a new car replacement bonus but those poor souls with older models will be left car less (and replacement used cars will also be greatly reduced) due to the catastrophe, as of, a mini ‘cars for clunkers’ removal of older used vehicles.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #7,
    I heard that the state requires a recount unless the margin is greater the 1/2%, even if it doesn’t make any difference, as in this case. If that is true, I really hope the margin is big enough to avoid a recount, because it would be a waste of people’s time, and a waste of money.

  11. ColoradoKid Says:

    Its kind of a sad commentary on the current state of our society when any given industry takes pleasure in others tragedy because it will mean more profit for them when those affected need to replace their destroyed property

    #7 As far as the vote in Fl from all reports thats a function of Florida’s extremely dysfunctional policies . I mean seriously . A 10 page ballot ? And in that vein might I also add ;

    Romney’s Last Ditch Moment of Cluelessness

    Its now being reported that in the last days of the campaign Romney was using Aaron Coplands ” Fanfare for the Common Man ” as his entry themes which is the ultimate in irony on several levels . If I may ;

    1) Copland was an American Communist Party supporter as well as an avid Socialist
    2) ” Fanfare for the Common Man ” was in fact written in support and praise of the Union efforts of the day
    3) Romney having been born with a diamond encrusted platinum spoon in his mouth is about as far removed from the ‘ Common Man ‘ as one can get

    Ironic yes . But also indicative as to what the Republican Party as a whole has become of late . Ignorant of the Past . Clueless as to the Present . Xenophobic and Insular at best ( bigoted at worst ) about the Future . Enough politics and back to autos .

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Another thing to remember with higher multi-gear automatic (and manual, for that matter) transmissions, there is only so much room in the casing to accommodate gears; there eventually will be a point where, in order to put more gears inside the case, they will need to be smaller (and less robust); diminishing returns here as well. Seems, nine or ten; a good point to stop (the escalation).

  13. HtG Says:

    Gov Cuomo was just on TV talking about The S.S. Sandy. He’s saying that the fuel delivery infrastructure is such that even a two day disruption can cripple the area. Even one or two broken pipes has a outsized effect. NY is actually delivering more fuel now than before the storm due to panic buying. Cuomo is implying that our infrastructure must be upgraded to deal with a new reality.
    ——
    TheColoradoKid left out one more irony that dare not speak its name.

  14. Bradley Says:

    *steps on soap box*
    Any chance of doing a question to see if people prefer the name MKZ over Continental?

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG they need to install emergency generators in these gas stations just like they have here, even major supermarkets have them as well, good time to be in the generator business. Our infrastructure is so weak, that a minimum cat 1 hurricane knocks it out for days. This is where the stimulus money should have gone instead of all these “green” ventures.

  16. HtG Says:

    15 Yup. Cuomo talked about all the gas in Nassau county that’s just sitting in tanks at stations because there’s no electricity. He strongly hinted that there needs to be improvement. He also talked about how people rebuild needing to be carefully assessed. He drew a gentle comparison to how structures get built in other known hurricane areas. If you listen close, he’s saying it’s going to be tough to just rebuild your ranch house near the water.

    Even here in a relatively unaffected part of Westchester, I see lines of cars being directed by cops toward open stations. Pretty soon, it might be me doing some waiting.

  17. Lex Says:

    I agree with John McElroy the front grille of the 2013 Chevy Traverse is much improved. The twin port only works well on the Cruze and Equinox. I want to see what Chevy is planning for the refreshed / redesigned Equinox.

    My wife took a ride in a Toyota Venza and was very impressed. It will definitely be on her list when it becomes time to replace her Honda Odyssey.

    Speaking about transmissions, when does a CVT make more sense than a 6+ gear transmission? Isn’t a CVT less complicated and lighter than a 6+ gear transmission? It seems to me that Nissan has investment a whole lot of money into their CVT’s.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    After Andrew hit, many unscrupulous “contractors” and “roofers” hit this area to do crappy, shoddy work on damaged homes cause there weren’t simply enough contractors to go around and they work they did had to be replaced later on at a much higher cost. BTW the insurance rates in that whole area is gonna go up so much plus with the new health ins mandate coming in as well, you guys will be working just to pay for insurance premiums.

  19. HtG Says:

    I’m a little sketchy on this, Pedro, but I don’t think the insurance cos are on the hook for flood damage to houses. If a tree falls on the house or car, that’s different. One thing of interest Cuomo said was that he’s spoken with the insurcos, and people can just photograph their ruined belongings as proof of loss. Cuomo wants all that stuff carted away since it’s a hazard. With so many smartphones out there, this may work out, though fraud will be tempting(like the Foxtrotting Delta Bravos who have been stealing copper parts from power line equipment here in Westchester)

  20. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG if it was flood damage, it will not be paid for by home insurance, you need to have separate Federal flood insurance (not expensive) otherwise wind damage and fire will be covered, but these insurers who have been collecting premiums all these years without any major catastrophe all of a sudden find themselves paying out all these billions, you know the rates are gonna go up I guess every area in the Atlantic seacoast will be considered a hurricane zone. And some claim there is no climate change!!!

  21. Jon M Says:

    I get that adding gears to a transmission can yield better MPG numbers, and in the current environment, its all the rage among automakers to boast about their ratings (just don’t get carried away like Hyundai did). But really, how many gears does a passenger vehicle really need? Class 8 trucks have 10 and 18 speed transmissions, but they have to haul heavy loads. Passenger vehicles (to include all classes of such) don’t work nearly as hard. Just how many gears are sufficient and/or beneficial is perhaps a matter of debate, but I’d say 9 are more than enough. Nevertheless, the race among automakers to see who can come up with most fluff rages on!

  22. HtG Says:

    How about an extra reverse gear for escaping terrorists and drug cartels? Stereo backup cameras, anyone?

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    AAMCO won’t be able to keep up with repairs in the next few years.

  24. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Benz seems to like 7 speed transmissions. I don’t like what their U.S. branch does, as far as which cars and powertrains to import, but generally speaking, I think M-B are very good, engineering-wise. Maybe that means that 7 is a good number of speeds for an automatic transmission.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #17,
    I’ve heard that belt CVT’s have a little more friction loss than regular transmissions, but Nissan has been using a lot of them for years, with good success. Also,it seems that CVT’s are not used with big engines, at least so far. It must be difficult to make them handle the torque, without getting big and heavy.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14,
    I thought Zephyr was a good name for the car they now call MKZ. The original Zephyr of the 30′s was a smaller, and less expensive Lincoln, so the name fits the MKZ. Continental would be good for a more up market car, if they ever have one. The current Taurus in Lincoln drag doesn’t qualify.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    If Ford owned Jag ,they could have adapted one of those RWD platforms to make a world-class continental, but since Ford has just about abandoned RWD, except the Mustang, they would need to develop a new one and it is too expensive to just put it in a low volume luxury car, unless you’re BMW or MB, where you’re gonna sell a lot world-wide.

  28. cwolf Says:

    Several car mags who have reviewed the hyb. Fusion and C-Max obtained real world mpg’s of about 34 mpg combined. Though stated these numbers are in line with Prius estimates, I remain stupified that the 47/47 mpg claim was conducted at 61 mph! In my world hwy speeds are 55, 65 or 70. So why do regulators allow this or at least set a realistic standard nation wide?

  29. cwolf Says:

    @ColoradoKid: Just out of curiosity, have you ever assumed a different name in your posts? Your writing style and word choice looks somewhat familiar to mein freund.

  30. Danny Turnpaugh Says:

    If a person drives 90% in town, how does the transmissions ever get above say 5th gear going traffic light to traffic light? 6 or 7 should be all thats needed.

  31. Robert Morrison Says:

    Please Ford discontinue the Lincoln brand. Let the American public have good thoughts of what a luxury car should be.
    This mkz competing with Lexus. No way you can make a luxury car out of a small ford.
    Last month Chrysler 300 outsold all Lincoln combined, doesn’t that tell you something?
    MKS really who thought that would sell? Maybe as a mercury.
    MKZ really nice design, but far far far from what Lincoln was, it is really to bad.
    Think about this, is there any Lincoln right now that could be used for the presidential limo? They used to be all the time.
    It is really aweful Ford management would do this. It’s to late in 10 years from now or sooner they will have to discontinue the brand because no consumer would ever consider buying a warmed over ford.
    Think of Lincoln this way. It’s the new mercury and we know what happened to mercury.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #31,
    The MKZ actually does compete pretty well with the Camry-based Lexus ES, but, yeah, if the 300 outsells the entire Lincoln brand, that sure says something. Unlike the MKS, a stretched 300 actually would be an appropriate presidential limo.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #28,
    Maybe Ford will have a “Hyundai moment” with their mpg ratings. I’m anxiously waiting for CR to test the Ford hybrids. They are the only real “second source” beyond the EPA numbers to compare mpg of cars.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Gee, I get 29 mpg consistently with my decrepit Crapola, with its tired old engine and archaic 3 speed slush box and this 34 mpg is such a great leap forward, really?? the 70′s Rabbit diesels used to get 40. Oh we have advanced so much, now BMW is using electric, plastic water pumps in their cars to save weight and engine power and they fail at around the 100k mile point and costs over a grand to replace it.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, unless those magazine people really had lead feet when doing their testing, Ford could have a Hyundai moment.

  36. HtG Says:

    I recently drove the X3, whose owner has averaged just a click over 20mpg. She’s happy with it. I’d go nuts.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #36,
    And that’s on premium.

  38. HtG Says:

    It’s the four cylinder twin turbo. It’s got some go. Very nice merge from 40 to 60. When you stomp it, the whole car stays very calm, with little shaking from the engine bay. You want more, Kit?

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sure..

  40. HtG Says:

    This ’12 X3 is surprising. For a tall car it doesn’t feel pitchy. The weight balance lets it turn freely despite weighing about 4200lbs. Other BMWs do this too in my experience. The body is so darn stiff, even sitting in the passenger seat you can feel how little flex there is. The visibility 360 degrees around is excellent, and I felt like I knew where the car was and what was around me with little effort. It’s quiet on the road, only having a nasty vibration sometimes, from whence I couldn’t tell. The autotrans shifts very smoothly, the sounds being the only indication of a shift. I tried trail braking and trailing throttle, but the tail end was completely planted(at least for how I was going to push someone else’s precious car). Only the weight would shift around, but really the thing didn’t change direction. A weird thing on the car is that the gas pedal is set up to allow heel and toe work. I don’t get that for an autotrans. I can agree with other peoples’ criticism of the stop/start system, which is pretty ragged. It felt like a cylinder compression method, but I don’t know how it works. The owner has had the car for a few months and still is working on the Idrive, but she’s happy with it. The steering is harder to describe; it has sensible on center dead feel, but wiggle the wheel and you clearly feel the edges of the tires biting. I wouldn’t be critical in a car like this. For what this owner wants out of her car, some little bursts of power, but no real handling demands, she’s delighted with her X3. It’s not ostentatiously built inside, quite teutonic as I remember these cars from years ago.

  41. pedro fernandez Says:

    #38 maybe the electric water pump that goes along with the electric power steering are really not doing much to help those Beemers get better mpg’s. So what is the point of these things?

  42. Bradley Says:

    #26, yes Zephyr would be better. However, IMO Lincoln needs to be more than badge engineered Fords. Even if a Lexus is a badge engineered Toyota…It is very difficult to see the connection.

  43. HtG Says:

    X3. I forgot to write that the instrument cluster is almost identical to Miatas since their introduction. I guess it works

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40,
    Thanks. Intetesting review.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #41,
    To me, the electric water pump makes the most sense for a hybrid which has no regular alternator, and has electric power steering. In that case, you would have a belt to run only the water pump, if it’s not electric. Still, in a non-hybrid with start-stop, an electric water pump would help keep the heater working while the engine is off, by pumping coolant from the hot engine to the heater core.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #42,
    To me, MKZ is to Fusion, as ES is to Camry. The LS is a whole nother ball game, though. LS is not a badge engineered Toyota, and is probably the best luxury sedan in the U.S. market, for most people buying luxury sedans. It’s quiet, comfortable, fairly fast, and unlike the Germans, has fairly user friendly controls. Yes, a 7 series would out handle it, but most people buying these cars wouldn’t care. Sorry, I guess we were talking about Lincoln, but they don’t compete in this market at all.

  47. aliisdad Says:

    Lincoln’s current efforts at competitive products remind me of back when Ford controlled Jaguar and they tarted up a Contour to make a new small Jag…It is too bad, but they seem to be heading for the same result with the new Lincolns…

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Speaking of Lincoln, I saw a new MKZ at the local dealer while driving by this morning. It’s the first one I’ve seen, other than at the NY show. The one at the dealer is candy red, like the one I saw at the show.

  49. HtG Says:

    Is this MKZ in IN or FL, Kit? Was it inside or on the road?

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    FL. It was outside, in front of the dealer’s showroom.

  51. HtG Says:

    Aaannnnd?

  52. Kit Gerhart Says:

    From a couple hundred feet away, on the way to breakfast, it looked decent, especially from the side. I’ll probably stop in later today and see what it’s like inside. When I was at the NY show, the display car was locked “for my safety” or some such thing, so I couldn’t really check out the interior.

  53. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit it is not the fact that it is electric, but that is mostly made of plastic which really cannot endure the heat as well as metal and with the heat and the electric components, it’s no wonder they fail much quicker than conventional ones. What’s next? plastic exhaust systems?

  54. Ed Says:

    #11 Coloradokid, funny to be a bad winner, Romney lost , it’s all over , and look at the mess Obama just inherited from the previous administration! How can you be bitter toward the looser? “Ignorant of the past clueless as to the future” look in the mirror!